Tag Archives: dutch politics

What is right is sometimes wrong

This is a weird day; it is weird for all the reasons that set the stage where things are weird. It is not ground breaking, it is not even great, but it is an essential event. To explain that we need to go back to Dutch history, to be more precise we need to go back to 1994. The politician Hans Janmaat was a member of the CP (Centre Party), it was ultra-right, very nationalistic in nature. He had slogans like “Holland is not a country of immigration” and “full=full“. In the not so great economic settings, which were harsher for many as the Netherlands is not just seemingly short on available space. To give a comparison, The Netherlands is the almost the same size of the US state of Maryland, Yet MD has 6 million people, the Netherlands 17 million, so space is hard to come by, so people started to listen to this person. In UK terms it makes the Netherlands three times the size of Yorkshire, whilst having 350% of its population, so it is decently comparable.

Even as his views were only tame in the first 3 hours, his extremists’ views were soon loud and harsh. So a lot of politicians and media starting to ignore him, which I always thought was a mistake. If you want to take power away, you need to make that person fall on his sword called ego. The media and politicians thought it would go away, which did not happen. What did happen that people were too frustrated with the elected politicians and in the 1994 elections, he ended up with the power of three seats, not one seat, three! He now had (for a short term) power and a vote in all the events, now all parties united against his actions and views, so they had to unite in resources stopping him. In all this Hans Janmaat often used economic arguments in his tirades against immigrants, just like Adolf Hitler did and some usurpers before (and after) him. Yet, the setting was a dangerous one and it was deflated by politicians setting a sphere of ignoring him around him, silencing the issue away and it did go away after a while. Yet did they actually deflate the situation? Now we see a similar setting to some degree with the Dutch politician Geert Wilders, who merely has a more tempered view in all this, yet for the most still very ultra-right oriented, he has not gone away, he is now the political leader of a party that has 20 out of 150 seats in the House of Representatives, 9 out of the 75 Senate seats, 66 of the 570 state provincials and 4 of the 26 European Parliament seats. Remember how this setting started with 3 seats?

In addition, the Professor Emeritus Meindert Fennema gave the argument in 2006 that Hans Janmaat was in the end convicted for making statements that has become common place in 2006, a gap of a mere 12 years. the political climate had changed in the Netherlands, partially due to the assassinations of politician Pim Fortuyn and Dutch film director and producer Theo van Gogh, the 9/11 attacks did not help any either. Geert Wilders followed in his footsteps (to some degree) and is the current leader of the Party for Freedom (Partij voor de Vrijheid – PVV). When we want to expose extremism, even Christian extremism, it can only be done by pointing it out in the media, we acknowledge that there are plenty of people who are sheep. They remain sheep because they merely follow, they cannot tell the difference on quality of who to follow and that is dangerous too. Some presenters (in politics and media) go into academic overdrive to the degree that can put any insomniac asleep roughly 92% faster than a double dose of Restoril (Temazepam). In many cases we need to educate the people, not sound more intelligent then them; this is the setting I have and now we get to the article ‘Sky News removed from Melbourne railway stations after extremist interview‘. The article (at https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2018/aug/09/sky-news-removed-from-melbourne-railway-stations-after-extremist-interview). Important is that I do not disagree, but at times the right thing is wrong. You see, when we see Jacinta Allan, Victoria’s transport minister give us: “I’ve directed @MetroTrains to remove @skynewsaustralia from all CBD station screens. Hatred and racism have no place on our screens or in our community. #springst“, I think she has a good and valid point. Yet, if we do not educate the people on what is wrong and why it is wrong, such a person can get elected in the end. After that it will be one complete political term of fixing the floor whilst the tap is running and the mess merely gets bigger. So when I see: “The move comes after the network interviewed Cottrell on Sunday night and the broadcaster was accused of “normalising racism and bigotry” by the former Labor MP Craig Emerson“, people will state that it makes sense that we see ‘quit his role at Sky News following the broadcast‘, yet the damage is done. A partial opportunity was grabbed by Laura Jayes when we see: “As if to prove my original character assessment…. Blair Cottrell posts (and later deletes) some weird suggestion about raping me on air. He’s not just a fascist. He’s down right dangerous” and she is not merely correct, she is absolutely right! A person like this is dangerous, the economic climate is here, just like it was in the Netherlands and there is plenty of hardship. People like Cottrell will state things like ‘it could be better, but no one will listen to me‘. Soon he has one person listening, then a second, then 4, eight, 16, 32 and that is merely in the first day, on the second day, the 32 will incite 64 to listen and it goes up quickly after that. If you decide to disagree, please feel free to watch the movie (at http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-12-04/billy-bush-says-infamous-access-hollywood-trump-tape-is-real/9224358), where a famous person decided to state ‘You can do anything, grab them by the Pussy‘, for your reference. That person is now addressed as ‘the 45th and current President of the United States‘, so smothering the silence and actual take action to show the danger of such a person is a more essential act then you think.

The same mistake that we saw in the Netherlands and several countries in the past should not happen, the only way to get these people out of the picture is to let them rant live on TV and make sure the people realise how dangerous it is to listen to people like that. So in this Jacinta Allan is wrong and Laura Jayes is right. Only by clearly exposing these people and making sure that such a person is ‘down right dangerous‘, preferably with evidence and stating why this person is dangerous that is how you deflate a situation. Most politicians are more about hearing their own voice and not about removing others by letting them speak and there is to some degree validity in that. Yet, when we see that not invalid view fail again and again, other ways need to be found. You see when you start skimming the news, reading the headlines. we see ‘Sky News sponsor backlash mounts‘, ‘Sky News removed from Melbourne railway stations‘ and ‘Victorian government bans Sky News from train stations‘, now it is all about Sky News and people might ignore the rest. Yet the headlines could have read ‘Blair Cottrell states that woman are happier with rape‘, ‘Extremist views removed from Melbourne stations‘, or ‘Blair Cottrell gets advertisers to drop contracts‘. Now the focus becomes Blair Cottrell and people will want to know why, more important, they will clearly see why Cottrell is ‘downright dangerous‘. With a person like Blair Cottrell it is not about bringing nuance to the screen; it is a tactic that works in his favour, by giving people the blunt direct version many more will shy away, those who optionally still admire him will do so silently, so growth of listeners is no longer a worry either. The sheep mentality also implies that something less acceptable will be pointed out and set into the limelight that people like Cottrell really tend to dislike, especially when they have political aspirations.

You see, there is a second danger and that is the one we do not see, but they are in the US. CNN reported less than 10 hours ago (at https://edition.cnn.com/2018/08/08/politics/donald-trump-primaries/index.html), that it is not merely getting into power that counts, the setting we see with “In the last 14 contested Republican primaries where President Donald Trump has endorsed a candidate, his pick has won — or is leading — all 14 times“. With: “John James in Michigan’s Republican Senate primary, who had been considered an underdog prior to the Trump endorsement, won the right to face Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow“. President Trump was not merely a president; he became a kingmaker 14 times over. So it is no longer merely him we need to worry about, it is that there are now 14 small time Trumps on the rise. So when you think that silencing Blair Cottrell helps, consider what happens when he gets in because he got endorsed by Pauline Hanson, current senator of Queensland and it ended up working because the people did not realise just how dangerous he was?

The US as well as European politics have shown that several times over. It was a miracle that someone pulled current President Emmanuel Macron out of a hat, it was a close call between that option and the alternative that President Marine Le Pen would have offered. Several sources gave rise of the situation with “the strategy of fear mainly reinforces Le Pen’s popularity“, I am against fear mongering and there was almost no option, because everyone considered that it would never happened. Not only did it almost happen, In Italy Matteo Salvini, the initial underdog is now Deputy Prime Minister of Italy. I think it is clear that we need to accept that doing the Ostrich (a head in sand pun) will not cut it. In case you think it is going to sizzle out, consider the Guardian (at https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/aug/05/italy-coalition-cracks-five-star-salvini-racism), where we see: “Roberto Fico, M5S MP and president of the chamber of deputies, spoke out against a controversial pact with Libya that sees migrants forcibly returned to war-riven north Africa“, speaking out against a setting where refugees are send back to a war front setting. Salvini just got elected; Italy has 5 more years of this setting. With this I hope we all agree that giving the limelight of danger on just how dangerous Blair Cottrell is, is preferable than him gaining strength and followers in silence, because AFTER an election there is very little we can do for that term, a clear view with five examples where we only see one case with a narrow escape, not a good track record to work with.

I have always believed (and rightfully so) that given the setting where you give a short-sighted person enough rope, they will end up hanging themselves again and again. It is like the overeager DIY person and the ability to paint himself into a corner that tends to be the most satisfying setting of all. In such cases I am more than happy to sponsor the bucket of paint and the brush, seeing a person sit in a corner. On a personal level, if that person ends up being Jason Sudeikis, I will make sure that his wife Olivia Wilde is not in the corner with him, seems like fun challenging her to several games of Splatoon 2 on the Nintendo Switch (one Nintendo Switch each mind you) and after each round both of us shouting out: ‘You OK there Jason?‘ should make an amazing afternoon of gaming, possibly the best one ever!

I have been known to be creatively sneaky under the most diplomatic of settings.



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Are banks now too much in control?

I mentioned some of this yesterday, some people are just too unwilling to learn and they are very willing to sell you a too pretty a picture. This is what is now starting to become clear and in a dangerous way. Again, not unlike previous events, this blog was inspired by the Dutch NOS (www.nos.nl).

Political parties are now starting to ‘panic’ and are quickly grabbing to solution wherever they can. The issue is that the Dutch economy is apparently even worse then was initially predicted by the Central Bureau of Statistics (www.CBS.nl). Their initial prediction of -0.1% is now -0.4%. Interesting fact is that I predicted something like this in my blog ‘A noun of non-profit‘ on May 15th, just over a month ago. So is this bad news management? To me it seems to be more and more the case.

Diederik Samson of the PVDA (Dutch labour party) is now trying to kick-start the economy by offering alternative sources to spend from. Well, Mr Samson, there are two issues with that idea. The first one, most people do not trust bankers and politicians, now they are seemingly joining hands many have reason to trust both of them even less. The second reason is that the unreliability of the current economy is stopping people to spend anything as long as they are in debt.

The basic issue is that there is too much uncertainty for the next two years. As such people pay their mortgage and essential bills as much as possible. The people are paying off their debts as banks cannot be trusted to play nice. This is the consequence of not containing the massive wave of simply put insane investment sprees. Perhaps some will remember how SNS Reaal needed to be nationalised?

So as the Dutch need to cut 6 billion in expenses, they now seek other way to find spending options to raise the economy and next on their list is the attempt to use pension funds to do this.

Basically, quoting Arjan Noorlander from yesterday’s NOS newscast “The people managing these funds are often investing abroad to get their dividends. This does not help the Dutch economy” He then further states “These funds should invest tens of billions by taking over mortgages from banks, so that they can offer new mortgage investments“.

How is this anywhere near a good idea? Banks, remember them? They are not to be trusted at present, or anywhere in the near future for that matter!

As we have all these bad bank mortgages out and floating, relieving banks from these burdens by losing upcoming retirement funds is more than just a bad idea. Arjan Noorlander did continue and did end with the fact that this is dangerous and retirement funds might get lost in this way, and that it might be an option if the government underwrites these loans so that they will pay the losses if those occur. To me it reads that in the end that another bill will be given to the taxpayers one way or another.

The issues of keeping the retirement funds safe was also mentioned by Alexander Pechtold (D66 = Democrats 1966), he continues by saying that first and foremost there should be clarity on how and if this should proceed.


You see, there are two sides to that part. In the first part the Dutch officials shot themselves in the foot for a long time by keeping housing too expensive for way too long a time. It was left to certain groups to keep the prices artificially too high. I myself viewed it as an artificial push to keep housing prices beyond acceptable as it increases the capital position of banks. Then there was the issue of preferential treatment for some places, as there were ways that the ‘right’ people got into those places. I myself experienced these events first-hand. Too many issues played and in a time when incomes were good, people got what they could and as such they are now stuck in a solid position, where moving away will cost any person a fortune. To illustrate this, my former, small, 2-bedroom apartment in Rotterdam would buy me an apartment almost twice that size in Stockholm, Sweden. So considering these facts, moving is not an option for many, which means that people are paying of their mortgage as much as possible.

The second part is that up to 2005, it was way too easy to get all kinds of credits and payment deferrals. These options all come at some percentage expense and as incomes were good, no one really cared too much. Now, to not end up in a situation where these people will have to eat their mortgage, or sell their house (making them destitute), they are now all paying off their debts as much and as fast as they can.

These two factors add to the fact that people will not spend money. Not unlike the government, too much money was taken in advance, and unlike the government, they are not getting to push it forward, so there is no spending. These factors had been known for a long time (at least 3-5 years), so when politicians are all so amazed that economic infusion plans are not working, then that amazement seems somewhat disingenuous to me. The fact that the Dutch are so about housing corporations, to be given the funds to grow is tying the cat to the bacon in more than one way.

This is not allowed to become an ‘opportunity knocks’ situation, especially when they are playing with retirement funds. If they really want to do something that adds up, then give people the option to use their retirement plan to pay of a mortgage of a new house. Those young enough will then have a building future. And it should be managed by a banking branch of those who keep those funds at present. Yet, I reckon that it will raise voices that this is not opening the economy enough. So is this about the banks, the people or the economy? I wonder how quick objections will loudly rise when banks are kept out of the equation. It would give rise to my suspicions that the banks are in more control then people realise.

Again, that risk is very real in the UK as well. Instead of keeping a decent flow of affordable housing, we see an economy in neutral whilst the hill it is up against seems to be rising more and more.

This was discussed in the Guardian, April 27th (http://www.guardian.co.uk/money/blog/2013/apr/27/pensions-system-failed-what-answer) When we look at this in regards to a failing amount of retirement savings as the predicted cost of living has been incorrect for at least a decade, likely closer to 2 decades, we now see a dangerous development. This is a market where over 40% of those approaching their elderly need will have to sell their residence to afford future care.

Suddenly ‘The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel‘ doesn’t sound like the worst idea for people to consider.

This again brings me to the idea of solutions. It is always nice to kick a parliamentarian (a therapeutic form of soul food), but we should consider options and opportunities for solutions.

There was an idea in South Australia several years ago that was quite remarkable. To solve housing, the government gave away land on loan. So basically, you got to buy a plot for $1. The conditions were that you had to place a house on it, and the value of the land was payable when you sold the house. So basically you had a house on free land as long as you lived on it. This solved two parts. One, the housing issues fell away for some, second a house needed to be build, so that was good for jobs and economy. I always thought that was a good idea to get people into their first house. The second part is the retirement issue. Now many prefer to remain where they are. This is fair enough. Yet, consider that instead of eating your house, you are leasing it away or renting it out. Consider that live in places like Greece, Spain and even India could be more rewarding (and warmer) as you live in a place where the cost of living is a lot lower. Lower cost means a better quality of life. I am not stating that this is an option for all, but perhaps it could be an option for a decent amount, giving breathing space to create new ideas and options. Whatever people choose, I hope it is one people will be able to live with in a comfortable way.


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Two sides of a political nature

The NOS (source: www.nos.nl ) is again inspiration to today’s blog. The Dutch television mentioned two articles that have bearing on this. The second one is about Syria, so you the reader will probably have your own views. The first one is an important one, yet, it might at present not be on your radar.

A scandal hit Dutch politics as the Chairman of the First room. A position that is comparable to speaker of the house in the US or the speaker of the House of Lords in the UK has resigned. His position must be one of pure neutrality. A position that came into question in an article by the newspaper called ‘the Volkskrant’ (translated: The People’s paper). In that article he was quoted to have stated that keeping a politician out of the procession during the Royal inauguration was in the back of his mind. That is regarded as a huge ‘no no’ and as such, to prevent escalation, he resigned his position as speaker of the house.

This is not about former speaker Fred de Graaf. It is about a certain approach to certain political parties. You see in the 90’s there was the CP (Centrum Party). This was an ultra-right movement with such an outspoken disdain for that what did not fit, that they made the Ku Klux Klan look like a social moderate organisation. Yes, they are that extreme. Whenever its speaker ‘JanMaat’ spoke out, politicians would walk away, not debate, just remain silent. I always regarded that as an utter mistake. Political scientists told me on how good the approach was, how the wind was taken away from his sails. Yet, as he was allowed to speak unchallenged a fearful thing happened, people accepted his words to some extent. He gained 3 seats in parliament (Dutch version of the House of Commons). Finally someone woke up and they started to debate issues and of course, that resulted in the Centrum Party losing all three seats in the following elections 4 years later. Silence is NOT golden!

Following that event a new party came, the name was ‘Leefbaar Nederland’ (translated as ‘Liveable Netherlands’). This was led by a person named Pim Fortuyn. This was nothing like the Centrum Party! Mr Fortuyn was a person of Charisma, he was a true politician and he was an excellent speaker. The issue was that there were similarities. The platform still had ‘full=full’ in a central position. You see, the Netherlands is not that large. In the US it is only slightly larger than Maryland (30%), and Tasmania Australia is 50% larger than the Netherlands, a nation with 17 million, making it one of the densest populated nations on the planet. He had a few radical (read politically incorrect idea’s) those messages do not matter. What was the issue, was the fact that his charisma gave him ten times the following the Centrum Party ever had. In the end Pim Fortuyn was assassinated by a person who was regarded as mentally unstable and an environmental activist. It became a source for years of conspiracy theories.

Now we have Mr Geert Wilders of the PVV (Party for freedom). Mr Wilders visited Australia, which in its own was quite the show as the Australians rebelled against such an extreme politician. The last one has been active in the Dutch House of Commons. An interesting event was that he was denied entrance in the UK. When he did travel via Heathrow with reporters he was detained, only to be shipped back on the next plane.

It seems to me that Geert Wilders is to some extent ignored in political circles. The danger here is that this man is no Mr Janmaat of the CP. This man is highly intelligent and a decent speaker. He is also a lot stronger political muscle then the previous two politicians. Not engaging him has strengthened him, and as such his party now has 10% of the seats in the Dutch House of Commons. It could be debated that as he is a strong speaker going up against him would have a risky factor for anyone debating him as he can be ruthless.

So the question becomes, why are politicians so easy to choose the ignore option to fight the values they and many others detest? Is that not a showing of cowardice? If we are truly vested in not allowing a growth of right wing extremities to grow into political houses, then ignoring is not a solution. If you think that we are all in a better place, think again. Look at the statistics of poverty and unemployment rates then consider that we are close to the levels that we had in the times leading up to WW2. That was the beginning of a group that held a great power to politically manipulate in the past. To see that part escalate, read on below where we look at Syria.

As history is to repeat itself, we see a growing fear of returning events of escalations. Syria has according to the evidence engaged the use of Chemical weapons on a small scale. The body count has surpassed 150 (dying of the effects of chemical warfare) and now several parties are under agreement that the straw that broke the camel’s back had been delivered. A coalition which currently contains France and UK, with the US now ready to join ranks has put their foot down. We have seen the consequences, we have seen the movies and medical evidence, yet the Russians are not convinced (in a state of denial). When we look at Chemical warfare, we see a weapon of Mass Destruction. So did the Press speak to people like Oznobistchev, Saveliev and Arbotov? Are they not supposed to be experts in the area of WMD? So did the press get to them, or was there a health statement of laryngitis by Director Bortnikov? #JustSaying. The issue is not just the Yay or Nay. It is that again we have two sides. The Russian side, delivering S-300 missiles to Syria and there is the other side. I have no issue with Russia delivering the hardware. It is legitimate hardware and no matter how we feel, the sovereign ruler of a nation bought a defensive weapon system for its country. In all honesty I must confess that at 3% commission, selling missiles at 250 million per system looks appealing. Charging that much for a weapon system that the Russians took off the market in 2012? I’d sell that! One must always be ready to pay the tailor, and Saville Row is slightly costly. Those systems are not used to deploy chemical weapons, but they will stop those who want to stop them. Where is this going?

This re-reads like the beginning of another Vietnam. One goes one corner, one goes the other (music by: Frankie Goes to Hollywood – Two Tribes). This is the level of high stakes poker we currently cannot afford to play. This is likely to have repercussions on all levels. From the previous part one could come to the conclusion that politicians prefer to evade. That might actually be less of an option. This is because larger players now have their ego at stake. The issue is not them, as whatever escalates will be far from their bedrooms. The issue is now quickly becoming Jordan AND Israel, as they both will get caught in the middle. Jordan already has rising issues as the Syrian population is running for their lives, straight into the arms of Jordan’s dwindling resources. It will also raise risks for Israel as HAMAS and their allies will see this as an option to really light the tinderbox.

So what can we do to solve this? Well, what if we can get info from another party? Prince El Hassan bin Talal of Jordan was/is a member of the WMDC (weapons of mass destruction commission). This all affects his country one way or another. What are his views? Has he seen any evidence? I think that this is more about settling the Syrian war. Settling that war can never succeed if we do not bolster stability in the region overall.

I believe that when, not if that stability fails, America will not need to worry about finding Lone-Wolf terrorists. There will be every chance that people from Morocco to Egypt will rush to enlist with Al-Qaeda, a scenario no one wants.

I fear that some have lost sight of that. There is too much smoke and the wrong people are calling to push buttons, whilst they are not at risk at all.

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